The United States Government has approved new visa fees for Nigerians applying to visit their country. This is in retaliation to a similar hike by Nigerian authorities for visiting US citizens. The new visa regime, they say, takes effect from Thursday.
US Embassy in Abuja and the Consulate in Lagos issued a statement to that effect. They say, “reciprocity fee schedule,” depending on the visa classification are as follows: B1 will now pay an extra $110 (N39, 270); B2, $110; B1/B2, $110.
Others are F1/F2$110/$110; H1B/H4, $180 (N64,260), $180; I, $210 (N74,970); L1/L2, $303 (N108,171), $303; R1/R2, $80, $80 (N28,560).
“The reciprocity tables displayed on www.travel.state.gov will be updated to reflect the changes” above, they said.
The new regime of visa fees will be imposed on Nigerian citizens worldwide. Nigerian applicants will be required to pay a visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee, for all approved applications for non-immigrant visas in B, F, H1B, I, L, and R visa classifications.
The above fees will be charged in addition to the non-immigrant visa application fee, also known as the MRV fee, which all applicants pay at the time of application. The additional fee shall be charged on applicants that are successful, the embassy says. “Nigerian citizens whose applications for a non-immigrant visa are denied will not be charged the new reciprocity fee.”
Both reciprocity and MRV fees are non-refundable, and their amounts vary based on visa classification.
“U.S. law requires U.S. visa fees and validity periods to be based on the treatment afforded to U.S. citizens by foreign governments, insofar as possible. Visa issuance fees are implemented under the principle of reciprocity: when a foreign government imposes additional visa fees on U.S. citizens, the United States will impose reciprocal fees on citizens of that country for similar types of visas.
“Nationals of a number of countries worldwide are currently required to pay this type of fee after their nonimmigrant visa application is approved.
“The total cost for a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa to Nigeria is currently higher than the total cost for a Nigerian to obtain a comparable visa to the United States. The new reciprocity fee for Nigerian citizens is meant to eliminate that cost difference.
“Since early 2018, the U.S. government has engaged the Nigerian government to request that the Nigerian government change the fees charged to U.S. citizens for certain visa categories. After eighteen months of review and consultations, the government of Nigeria has not changed its fee structure for U.S. citizen visa applicants, requiring the U.S. Department of State to enact new reciprocity fees in accordance with our visa laws.
“The reciprocity fee will be required for all Nigerian citizens worldwide, regardless of where they are applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the United States. The reciprocity fee is required for each visa that is issued, which means both adults and minors whose visa applications are approved will be charged the reciprocity fee. The fee can only be paid at the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consulate General. The reciprocity fee cannot be paid at banks or any other location,” the statement concluded.
Politicos is not sure if the immediate implementation of this policy has any correlation with FBI allegations of online fraud against some Nigerians last week.